Exploring Lit

As teachers we are always trying to find effective ways to teach our students. Their is no exact science to teaching but the more you educate yourself and really focus on the welfare of your students the easier it will become. There are so many different methods and techniques out there but you have to see what works for you. I came across the article by Judith A. Langer about teaching middle/high school students to read and write well, and it was very interesting and informative. She talked about these six features that make a difference in students performance.  I was very interested in seeing what these six feature illustrated. For the sake of this blog I will give you snap shots of each feature because I know like me many of you are super busy and sometimes you need short and sweet. I will include the information for anyone who wants the full article but this is what stuck with me.

Students learn skills and knowledge in multiple lesson plans. This is what it would look like:

Provide the students with simulated group and individual activities and teach them separately.

Use three kinds of instruction to scaffold ways to think and discuss your lessons. Make connections, justify  answers, and summarize.

Teachers integrate test preparation into instruction. Now you all know most of us cant stand test prep but it could be because we were looking at it all wrong. Try looking at it like this:

Find ways to integrate the skills they need for the test into the curriculum instead of teaching them a lesson on how to take the test. Give them ways to read, understand, and write effectively to gain the abilities that will make them literate for life and not to just pass the test.

A good way to also look at it is to find connections to the standards and goals that reflect the standardized test. And more importantly make sure the skills they need for the test ate learned across the year and in different grades. Teachers need to work together on this.

Teachers make connections across instruction, curriculum, and life. 

Develop goals and strategies that meets students needs and are intrinsically connected to the large curriculum.

Take professional develop training that  are beneficial to your school standards and curriculum framework.

Students learn strategies for doing the work.

One good strategy is to divide new or difficult tasks into segments and provide students with guides to accomplish them.

Provide strategies on how to think about tasks and not just do them.

Have your student  make their own rubrics, or help you create ones. This will make them apart of the grading process which screams out inclusion.

Students are expected to be generative thinkers.

Provide your students with activities that fit many view points. For example personal, ethical, political , and social events or issues. You want your students to be able to generate deeper understanding for text.

Design follow up lesson that allow students to move beyond their initial thinking.

Classrooms foster cognitive collaboration. 

Build your students up to have good team building skills. Expose them to activities where they bring their personal, cultural, and academic knowledge to a group and become learners and teachers.

Have your students engaging in lessons where they challenge each other’s ideas and responses. This will get them ready for real life experiences and interactions as an adult.

Teach them the importance of collaborations and networking.

All of these features need to work together to have the most effective outcome. It is are job to find out what best works for our students and I think this article gave me more insight and make me think on a different level. I hope this gave someone a pathway into some deeper thinking that will make your classroom stronger.

Until next time

Ms. L


The Seven stages of Grief and Crow as the trickster

First of all I have to say that I enjoyed both of these presentations especially since I used some of the crow poems myself.

So crow as a trickster which is definitely  is was interesting. Well some of the points that were made, like the one about Hughes in a scary world and the way he reacts is similar to many other tricksters in other stories. It was good to hear some of the different tricksters that are created and how a lot of them are the same in man ways. I think Hughes used the crow so he wouldn’t get criticized  for  things he writes about a crow will, and the crow is just an animal. I liked the Crow Communes poem because of all the craziness going on in it. Like crow approaching God and eating some of him etc. To have this written really made me question Hughes and did he think this was ok. This poem was a bit much more me in term of religion but very interesting to break apart. In a lot of the crow poems chaos is created by crow and he is the only one who can solve the chaos which apparently in popular with tricksters. It was different seeing God has the bad one in  Apple Tragedy but it was a good play on the traditional story.


Now I really enjoyed the conversation we had about the seven stages of grief in Crow. The ladies did a good job with the board activity which was fun trying to match his poems with the stages. It really made you look deeper into the poems. In Crow Tyrannosaurus the girls said that is was possible that Hughes felt like a lot of the blame was pointed at him about Plath’s death and he took his feeling out on himself. That is really deep!! I can see how he could feel like this because I could only imagine what people were saying to him and also the blame he was putting on himself. Even know as we are in class sometimes he gets blamed for some things associated with Plath, which is fairness he does play a part is some things. I never knew how angry Ted Hughes was towards God till reading crows poems and looking at them in this presentation. The group pointed out several poems that displayed his anger towards God ” Crow Blacker than Ever and ” A horrible religious error”. I feel like Hughes was just lost and angry and didn’t know what else to do them to write poems to help him grieve and heel. I loved the discussion we go into about rather or not Hughes met those last two steps there is nothing like a good debate. Crow tends to bring out the best debates in class and I have to applause Hughes for giving us something good to talk about.


Enjoyed both of the presentations , Good work


A Woman’s Agenda

A Woman’s Agenda

This is a very good article about gender roles being changes in the 21st century. The statics are very interesting and one that I really want you to check out is the amount of money women make as the bread winners. It’s said that even though more and more women are the bread winners of the family they are making bread winners salary. Still no women make less then men. We only make 77 cents to the men’s dollar. Sometimes I wonder what will it take more women to have equal pay? Does anyone have any suggestions? Maybe we need to start a new movement. We did it before we can do it again.

The Applicant

One of the best poem I would have to say I like of Plath is ” The Applicant”. The more I read and did research about this poem they more I liked it. First of all Plath’s reading of this poem makes it even better. When you get to hear a poem read by the person who wrote it there is a different experience and also new insight on the poem. When she read it she sounded fierce, and angry. She wanted to be heard and she wanted people to understand where she was coming from.

Some of the issues in the poem definitely still hit come today. The expectations of a marriage are different now , well I wouldn’t say completely different depending on the couple but women are more independent now. Some of the roles that women were expected to do men now are too. Men cook, clean, take care of the kids, etc. We even have stay at home dads and the wife goes out and brings home the bread. I think Plath really wanted society to realize the limits and responsibilities  they put on both men and women

The letter that hughes wrote to Plaths mother

From listening to this letter I got a new insight on their marriage and how she felt about her and her poems. It’s crazy to hear his sadness and how he feels about her death and the role he feels he played in it. What I didn’t now was that they were going to work on getting back together . I wonder what changed her maybe the book coming out.

I really appreciated that letter and now I have a better understanding to some of the birthday letters he wrote.

Birthday Present

This is Plath reading Birthday Present. The sounds in her voice is very strong while she is reading this . When she talks about how she should have killed herself the tone doesn’t change much. You would think that is would but she is very open about talking about her suicides. I wonder sometimes what she was really thinking.

In the poem when she is talking about the veil it makes me think of her responsibilities as a mother and wife. The veil is what she puts on when she had to perform so things and it like she doesn’t want to do the typical wife duties. This is a very interesting read because its her birthday and she could care this

Crow Poems Take 1


So after reading and discussing crow poems in class this past week I have gotten a deeper understanding of Hughes and the crow. At first I thought the crow just represented a trickster but the deeper we got into the poems it’s clear to me that the crow represents so many other things. After reading “Crow Blacker than Ever”  I noticed that the crow is really of himself and in most of these poems he thinks he has all the power or is the great one , which is true in some poems. In this one he is the one who takes credit for putting the heaven and the earth back together but then almost then made it so man or God couldn’t be themselves and of course crow felt good about that where then make me think that in this poem cry represented a evil spirit or a representation of the devil. I say that because the devil plays on the mind of the human being with is (man) and then he tries his best to diminish Gods plans. This is just what I see in this poem is has a lot of religious references and do many other poems. I still sorting out the relationship between Ted and Hughes but I think I am coming up on some useful information the more I read and research.   

Witches by Ted Hughes

The poem ” Witches by Ted Hughes is a very powerful one. The use of the word witch and bitch in the same stanza makes you take a step back and think wow this is going to get deep. The poem refers to women as being witches at some point in there life and the act in which they committed while being under the devil spell.  I really like the first stanza because it sets you up for the poem and what to expect :

Once was every woman the witch

To ride a weed the ragwort road:

Devil to so whatever she would:

Each rosebud, every old bitch.

To me it is telling me a story and this is what I see. Every woman has a time where they were a witch and during that time the rode on the ragwort road which the word ragwort is a yellow flower but can be toxic to livestock. I instantly thought this was a metaphor and what Hughes was saying is that the woman was traveling down this toxic road to do whatever she pleased which in t he rest of the poem is apparently sleep around with other men and party all night. I really like the last two lines in the third stanza ” Nightlong under the blackamoor spraddled     “Back beside their spouse by dawn ”  now what can you make of this? Are all women at some point bond to do inappropriate things and the devil is responsible. The reference to the devil is brought of twice in this poem it seem as if the woman in the poem is unconscious and the devil is taking over.  The line ” Where their feet dance while their heads sleep?” made me think that way , its almost like they have no control over what goes on while she is sleep and she thinks she does these unlawful things in a dream but it is really happened in reality.  This is how I read the poem and I guess Ted Hughes used witches because they associated with evil and seduction and so is the devil.


I selected this picture because this is somewhat of what i  see going on in this poem.  This is a picture of witches dancing around naked and the name of this painting is the Season of the Witch.  Its like the women Hughes is taking about these women has they are under the spell of the devil and who is to know what they would do. Dancing naked in the woods who would expect that? In the second stanza it talks about did woman bargain their bodies and the devil having ownership. This painting speaks those lines to me.

Plath’s ” Family Reunion

When I first read  family reunion I really liked the poem and thought  instantly about when we have family gathering at my house. I like the rhyme scheme in  this poem for the most part it is aa, bb, and then c. It made the poem flow better in terms of reading it and it made it easier for me to understand what she was talking about or making reference to. For example when she said “Absorbent as a sponge; I cast off my identity And make the final plunge”. You can easily see how those three lines flowed together even with the second line ending word not rhyming with the others. I liked the fact that she first talked about what she hears before people even got to the house. She was giving us insight on how she was feeling this day. It was like we were in her mind and she was taking us step by step on how you prepare for a family reunion especially when it is at your house. Whatever you had going on before that is over and the people and the personalities are about to envade you. I do like that even though her silence was over she recognizes that the people who were coming we happy to see eachother. It really just hit home for me  i think everyone has those members of the family who you know the baggage they are coming with rather thats the lack of a companion or a crying baby etc. I noticed that within the poem the three stanza each reflect a part of the experince. The first one talks about the start of the reunion , people walking and lauging up to the door. The second one about the family members who are their like Cousin Jane who is a spinster. The last one about her stepping into the maddess of the family. I felt like I was listening to a short story.

I question  I have would be why did she pick these certain family members to say something about. Was it the fact that the  descriptions that describes them flowed together in reference to wordplay? I also wonder about the line ” I cast off my identify” what did she mean by that? Cast off means to throw off or away so does she become someone else at these type of events. Maybe that what she is telling me in order to deal with Uncle Paul and Aunt Elizabeth and whomever she has to be someone else. Either way I find the peom interesting and full of imagery which I love. If I can see it happening in my head it is easier for me to relate to it.




: Pick a poem by either Plath or Hughes that evoked a strong response in you.  Describe your response.  What questions does the poem raise for you?